Gene-edited microbiomes, and Google’s Canadian standoff

Bacteria are everywhere, and the ones in our bodies seem to be extremely important to our health. They have developed complex relationships with other living systems, ingesting chemicals in their environment to produce other chemicals—some of which are more beneficial to nearby organisms than others. .

Getting bacteria to work for us has been an intriguing prospect for scientists for decades. For instance, could we tweak the genomes of these bacteria to control exactly what chemicals they break down or produce? What if we could take bacteria to help us reduce pollution or create bacteria to make drugs?

The good news is that new technologies are bringing us closer to making engineering microbes beneficial to our health and the environment a reality. Experts say we may be just four years away from being able to treat humans. Read full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

Jessica’s story is from The Checkup, her weekly biotech newsletter. Register to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

If you want to read more about bacteria and the microbiome, why not check out:

+ Bacteria could be engineered to fight cancer in mice Scientists have created bacteria that have the potential to prevent or treat cancer in animal tests, and human traces are already on the cards. Read full story.

+ Your microbiome ages like you — and that’s a problem. Our gut is inhabited by a complex ecosystem of bacteria. Can we tweak it to stay healthy as we age? Read full story.


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